rainn.png
Sunday June 20th, 2021 12:39AM

'The most dangerous time': UK sees toughest virus threat yet

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — The U.K. opened seven mass vaccination centers Monday as it moved into the most perilous moment of the COVID-19 pandemic, with exhausted medical staff reeling under the pressure of packed hospitals and increasing admissions.

England's chief medical officer, Dr. Chris Whitty, warned people to strictly follow measures to prevent the spread of the virus while they wait their turn for a vaccine shot. The government is trying to vaccinate some 15 million people by Feb. 15 — but Britain's National Health Service is struggling to treat those who are ill now.

“I think everybody accepts that this is the most dangerous time we’ve really had in terms of numbers into the NHS,’’ Whitty told the BBC.

People in the U.K. already face severe coronavirus restrictions but political leaders are considering tightening the rules further as a new, more transmissible variant of COVID-19 aggravates the health care crisis. Leaders want to vaccinate the country out of the crisis, but with hospitals under siege, they must persuade the public to take prevention methods more seriously.

"We don’t rule out taking further action if it’s needed, but it’s your actions now that can make a difference: Stay at home!” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said during a press conference Monday.

Britain, with over 81,000 dead, has the deadliest virus toll in Europe and the number of hospital beds filled by COVID-19 patients has risen steadily for more than a month. English hospitals are now treating 55% more COVID-19 cases than during the first peak of the pandemic in April.

“Everybody knows what they need to do. And I think that’s the key thing — minimize the number of contacts,” Whitty said.

England last week entered a third national lockdown that closed all nonessential shops, schools, colleges and universities for at least six weeks. The lockdown is slightly looser than the one in the spring with many more workplaces and businesses open, but police across the country have issued fines for breaking rules that require people to stay home except for essential reasons such as exercise or grocery shopping.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative government hopes the restrictions will reduce the strain on the NHS while it ramps up a nationwide mass vaccination program using vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and a second from Oxford-AstraZeneca. A third vaccine that has been approved for use, by Moderna, won't arrive until the spring.

Seven large-scale vaccination centers are opening, joining around 1,000 other sites across the country, including ones at hospitals, general practitioners’ clinics and drugstores.

At one vaccination center in Stevenage, north of London, medical workers administering shots described the mood as marked by relief and joy.

"They’ve been quite emotional actually, really pleased that there is some hope at the end of this tunnel, this very long tunnel for everybody," said Caroline Shepherd, clinical expert for immunizations at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust. “A few people (were) quite teary, saying ‘I’m really pleased to be here, thank you so much, we’re really grateful for the NHS.'”

Nearly 2.3 million people in the U.K. have received a COVID-19 vaccine so far. The government’s goal is to vaccinate the most vulnerable by mid-February, targeting people over 70, front line healthcare workers, nursing home residents and staff and others who are especially vulnerable. That will protect the people who account for almost 90% of coronavirus-related deaths and may allow restrictions to be eased, the government says.

“(But) we cannot be complacent,'' Johnson said during a visit to a vaccination center in Bristol. “The worst thing now would be for us to allow the success in rolling out a vaccine program to breed any kind of complacency about the state of the pandemic.”

___

Jill Lawless contributed to this report.

___

Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at:

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Impeachment looming, Democrats urge Pence to help oust Trump
Impeachment pressure mounting, the House is working swiftly to try to oust President Donald Trump from office
12:20PM ( 3 minutes ago )
'The most dangerous time': UK sees toughest virus threat yet
The U.K. has opened seven mass vaccination centers as it moves into the most perilous moment of the COVID-19 pandemic, with exhausted medical staff reeling under the pressure of packed hospitals and increasing admissions
12:20PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Wall Street distances itself from Trump, GOP after riots
A growing number of Wall Street banks and businesses have cut off ties with President Donald Trump’s campaign and financial arms, as well as the broader Republican Party, following last week’s riots and insurrection at the United States Capitol
12:15PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Armenian, Azerbaijani leaders in Russia for talks
Russian President Vladimir Putin has hosted his counterparts from Armenia and Azerbaijan for talks in the Kremlin for the first time since a Russia-brokered truce ended weeks of fierce fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh
11:38AM ( 46 minutes ago )
Stocks slip as Wall Street takes a breather after 4-day run
Stocks are slipping Monday as trading cools in markets around the world following their strong record-setting runs
11:35AM ( 48 minutes ago )
Turkey invites rival Greece to resume talks on disputes
Turkey has invited Greece to resume talks designed to reduce tensions between the neighbors, following this summer’s dispute over maritime borders and energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean
11:21AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Chunky bootmaker Dr. Martens to sell shares to public
The maker of Dr. Martens boots, the chunky-soled footwear favored by celebrities like Rihanna and Kristen Stewart, plans to sell shares to the public as the existing owners seek to profit from growth of the iconic brand
9:22AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: UK hospitals in crisis; vaccinations ramp up
England’s chief medical officer is warning that the coming weeks will be the worst of the pandemic for the National Health Service as he appealed to the public to strictly follow guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease
8:33AM ( 3 hours ago )
Doggie desserts: Ben & Jerry's enters the pet food business
Ben & Jerry’s isn't just for people anymore
8:21AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
The Latest: Montreal enacts curfew as virus cases spike
A curfew meant to curb a rising tide of COVID-19 cases took effect across Quebec on Saturday evening
9:55PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Austin will treat patients at convention center
Health officials in Austin, Texas, say they will open space in the Austin Convention Center for COVID-19 patients because they expect that the area’s health care system will soon be overwhelmed
6:48PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: California sees record COVID-19 deaths
California health authorities are reporting a record high of 695 coronavirus deaths as many hospitals strain under unprecedented caseloads
3:49PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Health Care
Wall Street distances itself from Trump, GOP after riots
A growing number of Wall Street banks and businesses have cut off ties with President Donald Trump’s campaign and financial arms, as well as the broader Republican Party, following last week’s riots and insurrection at the United States Capitol
12:15PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Snow and ice disrupt lives, vaccine rollout in Spain
The Spanish capital of Madrid is trying to get back on its feet after a 50-year record snowfall that paralyzed large parts of central Spain and hampered vaccine deliveries
12:10PM ( 14 minutes ago )
US ramps up vaccinations to get doses to more Americans
The U.S. is entering the second month of the biggest vaccination effort in history with a major expansion of the campaign, opening football stadiums, major league ballparks, fairgrounds and convention centers to inoculate a larger and more diverse pool of people
11:59AM ( 25 minutes ago )
House preps impeachment; GOP blocks ouster-by-Cabinet call
A House resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke constitutional authority to remove President Donald Trump from office has been blocked by Republicans
11:55AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Georgia lawmakers meet in riot's wake, and amid COVID-19
A state police SWAT team patrolled Georgia’s Capitol as lawmakers gathered Monday for the first time since rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington and threatened to take their grievances to statehouses around the country
11:55AM ( 28 minutes ago )